This list of frequently asked questions is geared for an audience not familiar with Gaelic Games and is interested in some general information about the sport – both in Ireland and America.
Gaelic Games are predominantly played in Ireland. In the Southern California Area, the local championship games are played mainly in Orange County, Los Angeles or San Diego. The San Diego 7s tournament is played on Memorial Day Weekend every year. The North American finals are played in different cities on different years. The North American Finals are always played over the Labor Day weekend.
The local GAA season runs any time from February through September. February is when the teams start to recruit and warm up with some light training sessions. April / May sees the start of a warm-up game season with smaller teams and more relaxed rules that help the teams to get warmed up for the proper championship, which runs from June through to September.
In Ireland, the inter-county All-Ireland championships run from May through September. The club All-Ireland championship runs through the winter and the finals are played on St Patrick’s Day.
The Gaelic Athletic Association is the governing body of the Gaelic Games of Hurling and Gaelic Football. It also governs such games as Rounder’s and Handball. It is a totally amateur, non-profit, community-based organization whose remit includes the promotion of Irish culture as expressed through sport, poetry, song, dance, and music.
Promoting the game internationally has become more of a priority for the GAA. The President of the GAA Liam O’Neill, gave a speech in New York highlighting the goal of eventually having more people playing the game internationally than domestically. This would only be possible with the game being taken up by people outside of the Irish diaspora. Possible strategies for promoting the game internationally must include better management of TV rights. It is currently very difficult to view a game outside of Ireland. The development of a twinning program between a club in Ireland and an international partner would also encourage links between the domestic and international scenes. There are many ways in which the scope of the game could be broadened internationally and there is no better time than now, with a young Irish vanguard leading the way. Involvement with an international GAA club is a great way to retain a connection with Ireland and to help you settle into your new life overseas.
For more please visit www.gaa.ie
No. Believe it or not, you are more likely to be injured in a game of soccer than in a game of hurling or Gaelic football because of the higher likelihood of a collision of the lower legs in soccer. Physical contact in Gaelic games is limited to a shoulder-to-shoulder charge with the player in possession of the ball.
There are some co-ed games for the local leagues in southern California, but not for national tournaments.
No. Although the All-Ireland championships look like major professional events, the only reward that the players get is the honor of winning. It is this that makes the GAA such a unique organization.
GAA club and county teams represent their local community. It is the honour of representing one’s community that spurs people on to play, and the fact that the players on a team represent the area in which the team is based means that the following is loyal and fanatical. At local club level, people play for various reasons. They play because it is fun, it is a sociable activity, it is a challenge, to improve fitness and health, and for recognition for their achievements.
Our games can be played by anyone, but are mostly played by Irish people, including some who visit the US for the summer, mainly students on summer work visas. There is a growing contingent of American-born players who really are the future of the Association in the United States. We are keen to get more American-born people into our games. We are also actively promoting our games within US Colleges.
Clubs can be found from Vancouver Canada, to Wellington New Zealand, and everywhere in between. There are numerous clubs in Australia and New Zealand, and in Asia clubs can be found in Singapore, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and many other countries. Britain and North America remain the two strongholds of Gaelic football internationally, with dozens of clubs in London and New York alone. Overall there are over 400 clubs outside of Ireland with about 16,000 people actively playing. The game is growing very rapidly in China and Europe, two locations in which the GAA had a limited presence until quite recently.
If you are interested in playing the support we encourage you to come along to one of our practice sessions. Check out or training/practice page for further details or go to our contact page and use the form to send us a request for more information and we will discuss your needs.
If you are interested in becoming part of the club, visit our games or social events page. Additionally you can like us on Facebook or sign up to our newsletter for up to date events. If you are interested in learning more about the sport but live somewhere else in Southern California you can contact our Southwest Division for more information.
The most prestigious prizes in Gaelic Games are the inter-county All-Ireland Championships. For football the prize is the Sam Maguire cup. In Hurling it is the Liam McCarthy cup. These two finals are Ireland’s equivalent of the Super bowl, and the two All-Ireland finals are huge national occasions. They are attended by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and the Irish President, as well as any visiting VIPs and foreign dignitaries who may be in the country at the time.
Hurling is an ancient game and one of the national sports of Ireland. Widely considered to be the fastest game on grass, the game consists of two teams of 15 trying to drive a ball down the field with a stick to score against each other. Without a doubt, it is one the most skillful sports played today. A good hurler uses many skills that require agility, bravery, fitness, hand-eye coordination, strength, and teamwork. The stick, or “hurley” is curved outwards at the end, to provide the striking surface. The ball or “sliotar” is similar in size to a baseball but has raised ridges.
You may strike the ball on the ground, or in the air. You may pick up the ball with your hurley and carry it for not more than four steps in the hand. After those steps you may bounce the ball on the hurley and back to the hand, but you are forbidden to catch the ball more than twice. To get around this, one of the skills is running with the ball balanced on the hurley. To score, you put the ball over the crossbar with the hurley or under the crossbar and into the net by the hurley for a goal, the latter being the equivalent of three points.